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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.4 Youth policy decision-making

On this page
  1. Structure of Decision-making
  2. Main Themes
  3. The National Agency for Youth

Structure of Decision-making

Governmental Level

The ministry in charge of youth is the Ministry of Education and Research. The department in the ministry responsible for youth is the Department of Youth and Talent Policy. 

Main goals of the department are as following: 

  • Developing legislation to ensure the appropriate legislative environment for implementing youth policy.
  • Ensuring purposefulness and consistency in the implementation of youth policy.
  • Planning of resources necessary for the implementation of youth policy.
  • Ensuring cohesiveness of youth policy.
  • Holding a public dialogue with partners to come to a social agreement on questions pertaining to youth policy.

To succeed in achieving the goals listed above, the department carries out a range of tasks. The main task of the department is to arrange activities pertaining to youth policy and youth at the Ministry of Education and Research and to consult the Minister and other ministerial officials in youth policy and youth work-related themes. 

Since 1st of August 2020, the national agency responsible for the implementation of education and youth policy, is the Education and Youth Board. The institution was established on the basis of the services of Innove FoundationArchimedes FoundationInformation Technology Foundation for Education and Estonian Youth Work Centre. Starting from 01.01.2021, the Foundation Archimedes Youth Agency was joint with the Education and Youth Board, and it became the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (NA for the Erasmus+ programme - cooperation regarding the financial support to youth projects from Erasmus+ programme; increasing the possibilities of international cooperation and the usage of its results; increasing the professionalization of youth workers, including through the development of level education and trainings and monitoring the competences; supporting the activities and sustainable development of the NA).

Local level

According to the Local Government Organisation Act, the local governments have a key role in organizing the topics related to local life, including youth work. Most of the financing of youth work comes also from the budget and own income of the local municipalities. 

Cooperation with other organizations

The main partners in the overall implementation of the youth policy are as following:

  • the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance - cooperation regarding the new support scheme to increase the participation of young people in youth work, including hobby education and activities;
  • the Association Estonian Open Youth Centres - cooperation regarding the support to open youth work centres on local level and services for NEET-youth; cooperation regarding the creation of the opportunities for youth workers to get consulting and support; cooperation regarding the support for the development of the youth information system;
  • the Ministry of Interior - cooperation regarding the prevention policy and the development of civil society;
  • the Ministry of Social Affairs (labor market policy sector) and Töötukassa (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund) - cooperation regarding labor market policy for young people, including information and early working experience, as well as work with hard-to-reach youth;
  • the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs - cooperation regarding the development of methods to prevent, intervene and rehabilitate youth risk behaviour. See also the programme "Children and Youth at Risk";
  • the Ministry of Social Affairs (child and family policy sector) - cooperation regarding child participation, ensuring the well-being of the children, and the juvenile committees;
  • the Eesti Noorsootöötajate Kogu (Association of Estonian Youth Workers) - cooperation regarding the creation of the opportunity for youth workers to get consulting and support;
  • the Estonian National Youth Council - cooperation regarding the support for the sustainable development of traditional forms of youth participation in decision-making, and the development of the funding system of annual support for youth organizations;
  • the Estonian National Youth Council and the Association Estonian Open Youth Centres - cooperation regarding the development and support for new possibilities for the young people's participation;
  • the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Justice - cooperation regarding ensuring the compliance with the principles of the development plan in the implementation of measures in policy fields the ministries are responsible for;
  • the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - cooperation regarding the development of e-services for youth and youth entrepreneurial spirit.

Main themes

The main themes in the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 are creativity development, entrepreneurship, social inclusion and the development of employability, active participation in the society and decision-making, quality youth policy and development of youth work. The choice of themes was based on the particular situation of the youth, youth field and the challenges in the society. All fields of the EU are covered by the National Youth Strategy on the level of principles, horizontal topics or particular measures. Many topics are also covered by other strategies, for example, the Lifelong Learning Strategy, the Integration Strategy, the Health Strategy, etc. 

The main target group for the Youth Field Development plan is according to the Youth Work Act young people aged 7-26. The plan does not narrow different measures for specific age groups. 

As the current development plan ends in 2020, a new draft for the period 2021-2035 has been created and sent to the Government Office for approval. Read more in the chapter 1.3. revisions/updates section.

The National Agency for Youth

The National Agency for Youth Policy and Work is a government agency.

Until 01.08.2020, Estonian Youth Work Centre was an agency under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research (originally was established in 1999). Since 1st of August, the national agency responsible for the implementation of education and youth policy, is the Education and Youth Board. The institution was established on the basis of the services of Innove FoundationArchimedes FoundationInformation Technology Foundation for Education and Estonian Youth Work Centre

The Education and Youth Board has a wide range of tasks for the implementation of education and youth policy. Other tasks of the authority are as following:

  • participates in the legislation process, organizes the implementation and advice within its competence and gives instructions of the obligations and rights based on the legislation;
  • provides and develops study counselling services;
  • creates and develops national curriculas for basic, general, and vocational education, advises educational institutions on the implementation of the national curriculum and updating the curriculas of educational institutions;
  • organizes the preparation and distribution of study materials;
  • organizes the external evaluation of the studies quality and educational institutions;
  • carries out external assessments of study results, organizes international foreign language examinations, and, within the limitations of authority, issues certificates and orders and distributes forms of graduation certificates and assessment sheets;
  • prepares and organizes examinations of knowledge of the Estonian Constitution and the Citizenship Act, and proficiency tests in the Estonian language;
  • organizes, develops, monitors, and analyzes the services of youth field and youth work;
  • advises youth work organizers on planning and organizing youth work;
  • performs tasks related to the fields of hobby education and hobby activities, including analyzes the usage of the financial support and achievement of goals;
  • assesses foreign qualifications enabling access to higher education and certifying higher education;
  • implements the European Union Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programs;
  • acts as an innovation and competence center in the fields of education and youth;
  • promotes Estonian education and youth work;
  • manages and develops the information systems and technological solutions of the authority's main acting fields, creates and tests educational technological developments, and supports their usage;
  • provides international data communication services to educational and research institutions;
  • provides and mediates scholarships, grants, awards, and recognitions in the fields of education and youth;
  • performs the functions of the chief or authorized processor of the database in the case provided by law or on the basis thereof;
  • participates in the preparation of national and European level education and youth programs;
  • represents the authority in court within the limits of its competence;
  • performs other functions arising from legislation.